BTK killer portrayed as deviant monster

Escrito por Nuria Querol i Viñas. Publicado en News in English.

This February 2005 file photo shows the booking of Dennis Rader, who admitted he was the BTK serial killer. Associated Press The court heard how Mr. Rader hanged cats and dogs, and how he experimented with bondage in his parents' basement. BTK killer portrayed as deviant monster if(typeof sIFR == "function"){ runSIFR(); }

Associated Press

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Wichita, Kan. — As one of Dennis Rader's youngest victims lay dying, tied up and with a plastic bag over his head, the killer pulled up a chair.

The show had begun.

Mr. Rader calmly sat and watched Joseph Otero II, 9, suffocate to death.

“It's kind of like in the movies,” Mr. Rader told police, according to the testimony of one Wichita detective, Timothy Relph. “The boogie man has got you, you ain't going to get out of it. It's all over.”

Prosecutors asking that Mr. Rader spend the rest of his life behind bars portrayed the confessed BTK killer on Wednesday as a monster eager to watch his victims' grisly final moments.

The testimony at Mr. Rader's sentencing hearing offered a glimpse into Mr. Rader's world of fantasy, in which he believed the tweed jacket he wore to a murder was reminiscent of James Bond. The way he drew his gun during another was like John Wayne.

The horrifying details of Mr. Rader's crimes — “projects,” he likes to call them — kept coming from the stand:

How he pulled down Nancy Fox's underpants, lay on her and whispered to her that he was BTK. How he brought Marine Hedge's body to his church basement and photographed her in various bondage positions. How he dreamed of having a torture chamber.

“He doesn't have a heart,” said Jeff Davis, son Dolores Davis, one of Mr. Rader's victims. “He doesn't have a soul.”

The court heard how Mr. Rader hanged cats and dogs, and how he experimented with bondage in his parents' basement. Detective Clint Snyder testified the serial killer told investigators he used a squeeze ball to strengthen his grip after finding his hands got numb during strangulations.

All of it seemed to have little effect on Mr. Rader, who sat stoic through most of the proceedings, taking notes on a legal pad at times, sipping water at others. He was not handcuffed; he was neatly dressed in a jacket and tie.

Victim by victim, prosecutors described the murders — killings motivated, they said, by Mr. Rader's deviant sexual desires.

They told of his writings describing what he termed “After Life Concept of Victim,” the killer's warped vision of how he'd be served by the slain in the afterlife.

Joseph Otero Sr. would be his bodyguard; Mr. Otero's wife, Julie, his bathroom attendant; he planned to make Kathryn Bright, 21, his “sexual bondage girl” and Nancy Fox, 25, his mistress.

And they described the killer's Jekyll-and-Hyde attributes.

He told detectives he gave toys to children locked in a bathroom, and a glass of water to their young mother whom he would soon kill.

“I'm pretty mean or could be,” Mr. Rader told detectives, according to testimony. “But on the other hand I'm very — you know — I'm nice guy. I'm a nice guy.”

For the families of victims, the testimony was not easy to hear.

Carmen Otero, whose parents and two siblings were Mr. Rader's first victims in 1974, clutched an afghan in the courtroom and nervously tapped her foot on the floor through much of the testimony. She was just 13 when she used a fingernail clipper to try to cut the gag off her mother's face.

Her two living brothers, Charlie and Danny, mostly crossed their arms through the testimony, occasionally wiping away a tear. But when prosecutors projected a close-up photo of his slain sister on the screen, Charlie Otero became visibly flushed, buried his face on his lap and cried.

Such emotion undoubtedly played out throughout the day, in the courtroom and out.

The proceedings mark the beginning of the end of a very long, disturbing chapter in Wichita history.

The 60-year-old Mr. Rader, married until recently and a father of two, first killed in 1974, though the murders continued until 1991. It wasn't until February that authorities zeroed in on the church congregation president and Boy Scout leader. He pleaded guilty in June to the murders.

The sentencing in many ways is a formality, with the only issue before the judge whether Mr. Rader will serve his 10 life sentences consecutively or concurrently. Kansas had no death penalty at the time the killings were committed.

Mr. Rader's attorneys sat silent through most of the testimony Wednesday, declining to cross-examine the witnesses and rarely entering an objection.

btk2 This February 2005 file photo shows the booking of Dennis Rader, who admitted he was the BTK serial killer.